Sussex Saleroom: 9th, 10th, Friday 11th September 2015
A fine Louis XV style gilt-bronze mounted, tulipwood and marquetry bureau plat with bronze mounts designed by Léon Messagé and marked "Z", probably for Joseph Emmanuel Zwiener, 146cm wide x 75cm deep. Illustrated
Footnote: Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener (1848- 1895) was one of the leading Parisian furniture makers of the end of the nineteenth century. He produced the very finest furniture, often inspired by the public collections in France.
In order to differentiate between Messagé's commissions, the gilt bronze mounts were often marked to the reverse with the maker's initials. Several of Zwiener's mounts have been found to have a 'Zw', a 'IZ' or, as in this example, 'Z' on the reverse. This was primarily for the purpose of differentiation, rather than an artist's signature. Some of Zwiener's work was stamped but not exclusively and only a few pieces have been found with a full signature and /or a date. There is a sketch by Message, dated 1871, of espagnolettes with plumed headdress and bound bodice very similar to those on this bureau plat on page 79 of Christopher Payne's book on Linke. The asymmetric profile of this table reflects the fact that it was originally offered for sale by Zwiener with the option of having a cartonnier standing at the larger end. An almost identical bureau plat (together with its cartonnier) was sold by Christie's New York, lot 291 April 1999 for $63,000
Literature: Payne, Christopher (2003), 'François Linke, 1855-1946, The Belle Époque of French Furniture', Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge.